Self Investigation: Healing

When I was going through cancer treatment and surgeries in my teenage years, all I
could think about was getting well. I thought surviving cancer would be the answer. But, it turns out, that being the one who survived has actually led to more questions.
I have had many occasions to think about this idea of healing. What does it mean to be healed anyway? Early in my life, I believe that I was healed because I wasn’t dead. Other times I believed I was not healed because I didn’t have my leg and God hadn’t spontaneously replaced it for me. Healing can mean so many things. My experience with healing has been less a moment and more a journey of understanding, reflection and struggle.
About three years after my last cancer treatment and my last major surgery, my family drove to Iowa City for a check up. We had been making periodic trips since they had amputated my leg and released me from further chemotherapy treatment. On this particular trip, the doctors had informed me that since it had been almost three years without any reoccurrence of cancer that I no longer needed to have check-ups with them. Their only request was that I get a chest x-ray next year with my yearly physical.
After receiving the good news, we left the pediatric oncology clinic and immediately headed over the pediatric oncology wing of the hospital, the floor where I had received all my chemotherapy treatments, for a visit. We trekked the long halls of the University of Iowa Hospitals and arrived at 3JC West, the place where I had spent at least a week of every month of my sophomore year of high school, and asked the person on duty to page my favorite nurse, Cindy. Cindy was my primary nurse when I was going through chemotherapy. Cindy was strong and intelligent and encouraging throughout my entire treatment schedule. Once, she even got permission from my mother to take me to the movies and out for pizza during one of my stays at the hospital. She was probably one of the reason why I briefly considered being a nurse.
The front desk paged Cindy and soon enough, she rounded the corner and greeted us with smiles and hugs. We told her the good news and she caught us up on the goings on in her life and on 3JC West. Before we left, I asked her about Larry and Becky and Melissa. How were they? What were they doing? She informed me that they had all died. Larry from Cystic Fibrosis AND Becky from a brain tumor AND Melissa from stomach cancer. I was shocked. As we left the hospital, I could scarcely take it in. All three of them were dead.
When we got back to the car and drove back toward home, my mother informed me that Jessica had also died. Jessica and I had the same cancer. She and I spent one afternoon together one summer. She was at the end of her treatment and planning a remission/recovery party and I, on the other hand, was still going through the treatment. My mother had met her father at work. My mom was a customer service representative at Des Moines Water Works and he was a vendor. The receptionist at Des Moines Water Works had introduced them to each other because she knew that both their daughters were going through cancer. Jessica’s cancer had spread to her lungs and after a few surgeries they were not able to save her. My mom told me that she had not told me about any of my hospital friend’s or Jessica’s death because they had all died right around the time that I was getting well. I sat in the back seat of the car by myself and cried.
Even now, I still think about what it means to be that one that lived. It is both joyous and confusing to be that person. Of course, I’m glad to be well. Of course, I’m glad to be alive. I’ve been told more than once that God must have ‘something’ for me to do. To some extent, given my current vocation and field of study, I even buy that line of reasoning, but only to some extent. People say a lot of things, and often those things seem cliche and hurtful to those who have lost someone.
If I am alive and God had something for me to do, then does that mean that God had no plan for sweet, funny, Elvis-loving, Becky – my pizza & ice cream friend? Does that mean that Larry, the little skinny guy who always seemed to be up to something even as he walked the halls pulling his oxygen and IV pole behind him, didn’t make God’s plan list?  Does that mean that Melissa didn’t have a chance? That God didn’t ordain a thing for this teenager to do but that God did for me? It is sometimes painful to try to answer these questions. If I tried, I fear I will come up with some insensitive platitude. No matter what I’d say, it might leave someone out.
I remember as a sophomore in college, sitting on the floor in front of the television enjoying an episode of the 700 Club. I don’t know if they still do it but at some point Pat Robertson and his co-host begin to pray and give ‘Words of Knowledge ’ like, “Someone is being healed of a neck pain, right now.” Things like that. I was totally in the moment with Pat and the co-host when my roommate entered the room. She said, disdainfully, “Do you really believe in healing?” The tone of her voice totally set me off and I turned to her angrily said, “There was a girl that had the same cancer I did. We received to same treatment. Mine in Iowa City and hers in Des Moines. We both had our legs amputated. Her left and my right. She is dead and I am alive. So, YES, I believe in healing!” Then I turned my back and continued to watch the show. She made the intelligent decision to remain silent.
That was healing, as I understood it then. I’m alive and she’s dead, so I’m healed. It’s not so cut and dry for me anymore. I believe that healing takes place in a lot of ways and that, we, as humans, must be very careful about how we judge what is healing and what is not.  Ministers often have to walk a fine line. We are the carriers of God’s word and bearers of Christ’s love, we look for indications of brokenness and hurt in people and try to encourage them to seek wholeness and health in their lives. But we must also avoid offering cheap hope. Although I believe that spontaneous and miraculous healing is possible, I never want to convey that the more common, long journey to wholeness is any less miraculous.  We must be careful not to presume that we know, more than God, what an individual needs.
There are instances in which people want to be encouraging and tell others that God can heal them. Yet, the so-called, ‘encourager’ has set the criteria for what healing is. If the healing process doesn’t go the way the ‘encourager’ anticipates then often, the person in need of healing is blamed for not having enough faith. No one should ever be made to feel guilty for not healing on schedule. This very hurtful when it happens. We project our beliefs on other people to their detriment when we might do well to look deeper at where we get our theology and examine it to see if it is sound or helpful.
Although I can’t answer all the questions that I have about healing right now, I can say that I know that God is God. I cannot control God. I cannot put God in a box. God is not my short order cook or my ATM. God is more than any of us can imagine. God is constantly exploding our idols  and our limited expectations of God abilities. God shows us that our expectations of the divine are not exhaustive. There is always more.
There is no formula to ascertain whom God will heal and whom God will allow to suffer or even die. Being alive is not an indication of healing but it is an opportunity for healing to occur. I find some comfort in the idea that God will do what God does and that healing is always possible and always miraculous, even if the healing does not occur in the way that we anticipated or on what we asked to have healed. And with that, I welcome God even further into my life to heal me and to lead me to whatever I can do to point others to God’s healing power.
In retrospect, I believe that God was present for me when I was sick and that God’s hand was present as I healed. I also believe that God was present with my friends who died. And if they are in the presence of God where all things are complete and make sense, I’m sure they have more understanding of the process than I do. Nevertheless, I’m open to learn whatever God wants to teach me.

Here’s a paper I wrote for Pastoral Care class about an experience with healing.

When I was going through cancer treatment and surgeries in my teenage years, all I could think about was getting well. I thought surviving cancer would be the answer. But, it turns out, that being the one who survived has actually led to more questions.

I have had many occasions to think about this idea of healing. What does it mean to be healed anyway? Early in my life, I believe that I was healed because I wasn’t dead. Other times I believed I was not healed because I didn’t have my leg and God hadn’t spontaneously replaced it for me. Healing can mean so many things. My experience with healing has been less a moment and more a journey of understanding, reflection and struggle.

About three years after my last cancer treatment and my last major surgery, my family drove to Iowa City for a check up. We had been making periodic trips since they had amputated my leg and released me from further chemotherapy treatment. On this particular trip, the doctors had informed me that since it had been almost three years without any reoccurrence of cancer that I no longer needed to have check-ups with them. Their only request was that I get a chest x-ray next year with my yearly physical.

After receiving the good news, we left the pediatric oncology clinic and immediately headed over the pediatric oncology wing of the hospital, the floor where I had received all my chemotherapy treatments, for a visit. We trekked the long halls of the University of Iowa Hospitals and arrived at 3JC West, the place where I had spent at least a week of every month of my sophomore year of high school, and asked the person on duty to page my favorite nurse, Carol. Carol was my primary nurse when I was going through chemotherapy. Carol was strong and intelligent and encouraging throughout my entire treatment schedule. Once, she even got permission from my mother to take me to the movies and out for pizza during one of my stays at the hospital. She was probably one of the reason why I briefly considered being a nurse.

The front desk paged Carol and soon enough, she rounded the corner and greeted us with smiles and hugs. We told her the good news and she caught us up on the goings on in her life and on 3JC West. Before we left, I asked her about Luke and Barbie and Michelle. How were they? What were they doing? She informed me that they had all died. Luke from Cystic Fibrosis AND Barbie from a brain tumor AND Michelle from stomach cancer. I was shocked. As we left the hospital, I could scarcely take it in. All three of them were dead.

When we got back to the car and drove back toward home, my mother informed me that Jessica had also died. Jessica and I had the same cancer. She and I spent one afternoon together one summer. She was at the end of her treatment and planning a remission/recovery party and I, on the other hand, was still going through the treatment. My mother had met her father at work. My mom was a customer service representative at [utility company] and he was a vendor. The receptionist at [utility company] had introduced them to each other because she knew that both their daughters were going through cancer. Jessica’s cancer had spread to her lungs and after a few surgeries they were not able to save her. My mom told me that she had not told me about any of my hospital friend’s or Jessica’s death because they had all died right around the time that I was getting well. I sat in the back seat of the car by myself and cried.

Even now, I still think about what it means to be that one that lived. It is both joyous and confusing to be that person. Of course, I’m glad to be well. Of course, I’m glad to be alive. I’ve been told more than once that God must have ‘something’ for me to do. To some extent, given my current vocation and field of study, I even buy that line of reasoning, but only to some extent. People say a lot of things, and often those things seem cliche and hurtful to those who have lost someone.

If I am alive and God had something for me to do, then does that mean that God had no plan for sweet, funny, Elvis-loving, Barbie – my pizza & ice cream friend? Does that mean that Luke, the little skinny guy who always seemed to be up to something even as he walked the halls pulling his oxygen and IV pole behind him, didn’t make God’s plan list?  Does that mean that Michell didn’t have a chance? That God didn’t ordain a thing for this teenager to do but that God did for me? It is sometimes painful to try to answer these questions. If I tried, I fear I will come up with some insensitive platitude. No matter what I’d say, it might leave someone out.

I remember as a sophomore in college, sitting on the floor in front of the television enjoying an episode of the 700 Club. I don’t know if they still do it but at some point Pat Robertson and his co-host begin to pray and give ‘Words of Knowledge ’ like, “Someone is being healed of a neck pain, right now.” Things like that. I was totally in the moment with Pat and the co-host when my roommate entered the room. She said, disdainfully, “Do you really believe in healing?” The tone of her voice totally set me off and I turned to her angrily said, “There was a girl that had the same cancer I did. We received to same treatment. Mine in Iowa City and hers in Des Moines. We both had our legs amputated. Her left and my right. She is dead and I am alive. So, YES, I believe in healing!” Then I turned my back and continued to watch the show. She made the intelligent decision to remain silent.

That was healing, as I understood it then. I’m alive and she’s dead, so I’m healed. It’s not so cut and dry for me anymore. I believe that healing takes place in a lot of ways and that, we, as humans, must be very careful about how we judge what is healing and what is not.  Ministers often have to walk a fine line. We are the carriers of God’s word and bearers of Christ’s love, we look for indications of brokenness and hurt in people and try to encourage them to seek wholeness and health in their lives. But we must also avoid offering cheap hope. Although I believe that spontaneous and miraculous healing is possible, I never want to convey that the more common, long journey to wholeness is any less miraculous.  We must be careful not to presume that we know, more than God, what an individual needs.

There are instances in which people want to be encouraging and tell others that God can heal them. Yet, the so-called, ‘encourager’ has set the criteria for what healing is. If the healing process doesn’t go the way the ‘encourager’ anticipates then often, the person in need of healing is blamed for not having enough faith. No one should ever be made to feel guilty for not healing on schedule. This very hurtful when it happens. We project our beliefs on other people to their detriment when we might do well to look deeper at where we get our theology and examine it to see if it is sound or helpful.

Although I can’t answer all the questions that I have about healing right now, I can say that I know that God is God. I cannot control God. I cannot put God in a box. God is not my short order cook or my ATM. God is more than any of us can imagine. God is constantly exploding our idols  and our limited expectations of God abilities. God shows us that our expectations of the divine are not exhaustive. There is always more.

There is no formula to ascertain whom God will heal and whom God will allow to suffer or even die. Being alive is not an indication of healing but it is an opportunity for healing to occur. I find some comfort in the idea that God will do what God does and that healing is always possible and always miraculous, even if the healing does not occur in the way that we anticipated or on what we asked to have healed. And with that, I welcome God even further into my life to heal me and to lead me to whatever I can do to point others to God’s healing power.

In retrospect, I believe that God was present for me when I was sick and that God’s hand was present as I healed. I also believe that God was present with my friends who died. And if they are in the presence of God where all things are complete and make sense, I’m sure they have more understanding of the process than I do. Nevertheless, I’m open to learn whatever God wants to teach me.

End notes:

1. They do, in fact, still do the Word of Knowledge thing on the 700 club.

http://www.cbn.com/700club/features/BringItOn/healing-index.aspx . Additionally, the biblical reference often used to explain this phenomenon is 1 Corinthians 12:8.

2.   Not an exact quote by any means but a definite shout out to C.S. Lewis and Paul Tillich.

3. Names have been changed for privacy.

Rough Draft to 15 different poems, books, memoirs, sermons, confessions, apologies, blog entries and maybe one eulogy?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 12:30am, revised 09/18/2009

So, I lost weight, I went to the gym, I controlled portions, I ate a freakin’ grapefruit for my snack and I’M HUNGREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEY!!! I want a real snack. Ugh. See, I really want to be in shape. I want to be healthy, I want to get strong and sexy and chiseled. I want to be a swirl of curve and muscle with a layer of delicious softness. I want to look good. For me, for you, for my husband.

Oh, and don’t get me started on him. He’s been at the gym almost every freakin’ day for over a month and I just want to tell you that he looks terrible and I hope you never notice in your entire life how fantastic my husband is…because he isn’t like me. He doesn’t need attention like I do and if you ever touched him…well, somebody would die…not sure who though… Oh yeah, but back to me, I want to get in shape and healthy and strong and sane and continue what I call my super hero training. I have this little person that I need to take care of, this bigger person that I need to love, this calling that I need to obey…I can hear my womb calling, calling for another. The third. See, the second one got a away.

I bled for 20 days, I still can’t believe that little one got away and my goodness did that little one get away real, real slow. Iris told me, you have to come back, it’s ectopic, there is no way around it, if you don’t, it will grow wherever it is and you will rupture and it will fill you stomach with blood. So methotrexate, two shots in the butt. Weekly blood tests until she said okay…now about your pre cancerous cervix….But I want to try again, he wants to try with me, we could maybe make another little person. The third, hope she won’t get away. She, he? Any chance? Wish I could skip all the bad parts of the my first school year. Wish I could skip the ugly words, the surgeries, the giant syringe, the blood, the pressure, the bottle of pills, the wishing I could die…that a bus would hit me…the screaming…I sure wish I could skip all that and keep all the beauty that slid in between. Working to find a way to not speak of this school and it’s inhabitants with unbalanced hate.

Year two – recovery, recovery, recovery and set back and recovery and the threat of non-enrollment. See the dirt under my nails? It’s my skin and a little of my blood. I try to wash my hands, wash my mind, wash my self real good before I put on my robe and preach but I end up showing my wounds. Wounded Healer, my ass. I want to be a superhero. A force. I want to pray and preach and make beauty when I’m not screaming or looking in the mirror wishing I could change myself.

But I lost weight! I’ll be in the gym tomorrow right next to him because it makes me feel good (he makes me feel so good) and I’ll be at therapy on Wednesday. I’ll keep loving the most beautiful boy in the world everyday even when I’m telling him to STOP THAT! He dances when he walks, he sings when he talks, he laughs all the time, his hugs are perfect even when they are half-hearted because he is a big boy now…thank you.

Can’t wait ’til morning when he climbs into my bed and says, “Good morning, mommy!” And then hugs me.  When he goes to school, I think about all that I have not completed…incomplete, incompletes. So tomorrow… I will try again to eat, to exercise, to feel good, to love, to accept love, to kiss, to hug, to write, to complete, to hip, to hop, to don’t stop…again.

Eff Hebrew

Here we go again. Starting in August, I will brave the Summer Hebrew Intensive again and I’ll relearn Biblical Hebrew.  I am excited to gain and retain the vocabulary and grasp the concepts better. I am determined to win. I need to get myself together so I can schedule time to pre-study. Really need that!!! I believe it will benefit me greatly in terms of confidence in my academic abilities. Additionally, it will enable me to find fuller and better interpretations of scripture that can be used in sermons, counseling, teaching and personal bible study. There is so much to gain. 

Part of me is so excited for the opportunity and the other part of me feels like I’m about to do battle, hence the title of this post. I think the hardest battle is against myself. So how much of my own fear and loathing will I need to destroy to get through Hebrew?  I don’t know. I think I’m in for a hard battle. But it’s time to win.

A few guidelines for Winter Quarter and beyond

In light of the drama of last quarter I’ve decided to set a few guidelines for Winter 2008 and try to create some good habits:

  • My Day Off – If I don’t have class, I don’t have to come to campus. With proper planning, I should be able to avoid schoolwork altogether on my day off. If, sometimes, I do need to do some schoolwork then it should be limited to a few hours and not take up the whole day. And if I do come to campus, it has to be for something good, like singing or working out.
  • Home Care – I need time to take care of myself and my house. This is evidenced by the fact that my house looks like crap. A crappy cluttered house is not a good study environment and its bad for my self-esteem. I like to throw parties and have company and this is keeping me from it. Sooo, there will be home care and me care on my day off.
  • Calendar time – I have to take time each week to update my calendar. This will keep me on top of school, church and life happenings which should help me reduce stress. This is work so I’m not doing it on my day off.
  • Cooking– I want (us) to lose weight and I want (us) to be healthier. If I want to do either of these, I need to control what I (we) eat and cooking ahead is the best way for me to do. I (we) weigh more than I’ve (we’ve) ever weighed in my (our) whole life and I’m not comfortable with that. It gives me no margin of error. I am not changing my clothing size because I am cute and I want to stay that way. Additionally, I’d like to get pregnant so losing 5 to 10lbs (15 max) would be great so I have baby room and (hopefully) don’t need to switch to a new size post partum. AND I’m a good cook so why not continue to hone my skills? How else will I ever become a cooking ninja?
  •  Exercise – Have Mercy! This is such a hard subject. I have so much trouble doing this. I just need get my heart rate up and do a little resistance training for heart health and bone density. Additionally, I really want my body tightened up. One of my girls told me that I made her sick because I had a baby and I’m still the same size. I informed her that I may be the same size but I am not the same shape. I want my muscles and I want my abs back. I’ve got to do something! FitTv, yoga and pilates dvd, abs video, running around with Lolo and dancing! Does dragging my backpack 3.5 blocks to campus everyday count? I sure hope so. So if I can just up my activity from backpack dragging then that should equate some kind of weight loss, I hope. Argh.
  • Me Care– I’ve been mentioning it but it needs its own bullet point. Quiet time, alone time, creative time, beauty…sheesh. I never get to soak in the tub. I need to get a massage at least quarterly (before finals). I want to get my hair did at least quarterly. Mani/pedi. Stuff to give me some time away and to also make me feel good! Going dancing.
  • Business  – This Avon thing was not working with school. Not much is but I want to keep at it a little longer and figure out how to tailor it to my schedule. Additionally, I want to start selling my art and my crafts. This is a dream for me and I really want to make it happen but I will not stress about it. One thing at a time.
  • Husband and Wife time – Gosh, this is a big deal. We need to try to get date night up to once per month. We’ve got some great restaurants on our list and we live in Chicago. There is plenty to do and many opportunities to enjoy some time alone. Making to most of this before we have another child is imperative.
  • Family time– Mr. Baby is now Mr. Toddler and is at the stage where we can start going to museums and other cool sites. I think this summer is really going to be big for him. He is going to be 3 and he’ll be entering Pre-School. I’m so excited and I want to expose him to as much fun, culture and activity as possible.
  • Bible Study/Prayer time – You’d think someone going to Divinity school would have this one on lock right? Nope. My church does one on Wednesdays at 7:15pm. My MDiv cohort is planning to do one on Fridays at 7pm.  I plan to attend both as much as I can and try to do some personal reading on my day off. Prayer time is weird. I mean I do a lot of talking but meditation and listening is an area where I am in need.
  • Grace – Give and get. I want to give as much grace to others as I would hope to get myself and I want to give myself more grace. I want to do great things, accomplish goals and be ‘super’ but I do not want to beat myself up when things don’t go well or when I screw up. That is where grace comes in. I think the previous one might help with that.
  • Ministry – Often ministry happens and often I go with it but I’d like to be more purposeful and aware. I want to see it and be conscious of it and I want to do it well. I also want to be more clear about what God really wants me to do. School is supposed to help me do ministry and give me some useful tools. I also hope to get some insights from God as I continue the M.Div program. I want to look at my classes with that in mind. I am in this program to gather some of the tools and skills to do what God has called me to. I want to pray and ask God what He wants to show me in each of the classes I’ve chosen. I want to be open and present and conscious and embrace what He has for me.

That’s enough for now.

Assignment – Lose Yourself

Right now, I’m trying to write my first draft of my paper for Intro to Arts of Ministry class (aka Colloquium). The assignment:

Write reflection on the Text and Experience as it relates to your vocational discernment.

What??!?  Yeah, my reaction too. I’ve chose the song Lose Yourself by Eminem. I’m going to talk about opportunities and experiences that have led me to the decision to study ministry and to make being a minister a life long pursuit.

 Thank God its only the first draft. I am so not ready for this its a deep and vast subject but I’ll go for it. I have two more tries to build it into something good.

Level 3, Pre-Cancer

Okay, so I’m really sick of visiting the doctor. Really, really sick of it! So Iris calls me yesterday and tells me that the colposcopy did, in fact, confirm the Pap results.

I am so sick of this year. Miscarriage, now this. I am exhausted! She said she will go talk to the cancer doctors to discuss my situation. She said she may refer me to them. She said she’d call me next week with a plan of action.

Today, I cried….

Best case, they do the LEEP procedure and clean house. Clean, I want it clean and I don’t want to hear any of this garbage come out of a doctor’s mouth ever again. Negative effect of best case: next baby delivers at 37 weeks instead of 40 weeks. That is the side of effect since this will be my second LEEP. I can handle that. Right now, that is all I can handle. And yes, I know that He will sustain me.. I know that! He does it every time. He did it last time. He did it a minute ago. He’s doing it now but I don’t want to do this. I want to deal with regular uncertainty, not this.

One set of foot prints.

I am afraid and angry. I am sick of this. Div School. Miscarriage. Level 3, Pre-Cancer. Life as ministry tool? Lord, make it worth it, please. I know I have work to do so I’m counting on you to make it alright. Please.

Fear

Fear sucks. I hate fear. Fear paralyzes me. I have 4, count them four papers due because of fear. Well, not just because of fear. Part of it is that I’m still sad about the miscarriage. Part of it is fear. In my case, fear breeds procrastination. I’m a perfectionist so I worry, worry, worry that what I’m doing will suck. I worry that its not good enough. Back to the miscarriage. I am having trouble concentrating, I still want to cry sometimes. I am having trouble putting my thoughts together. Did I mention that I’m sleepy? Sleepy a lot! I want to stay in bed. I guess I’m not totally incapacitated by depression because I still love hanging out with my friends and I am still my social self but I’m struggling. Oh and then there’s the Level 3 abnormal Pap. Yep. So I’ve got a lot on my mind. Not cool. I need to get this done but I’d rather do anything but that. I just need to get started. I was talking to my girl, Mary the other day and I had a whole bunch of ideas. I was able to talk it out.  Can I get it on paper though? Not yet. The funny thing about it is that I want my writing to be part of my ministry! I want that so bad. Ugh!!! I know it will come together. I must press on.

Galileo by The Indigo Girls

This spoke to me. I think the chorus caught my attention but the song is very compelling:

Galileo’s head was on the block
The crime was looking up for truth
And as the bombshells of my daily fears explode
I try to trace them to my youth

And then you had to bring up reincarnation
Over a couple of beers the other night
And now I’m serving time for mistakes
Made by another in another lifetime

How long till my soul gets it right
Can any human being ever reach that kind of light
I call on the resting soul of Galileo
King of night vision, king of insight

And then I think about my fear of motion
Which I never could explain
Some other fool across the ocean years ago
Must have crashed his little airplane

How long till my soul gets it right
Can any human being ever reach that kind of light
I call on the resting soul of Galileo
King of night vision, king of insight

I’m not making a joke, you know me
I take everything so seriously
If we wait for the time till all souls get it right
Then at least I know there’ll be no nuclear annihilation
In my lifetime I’m still not right

I offer thanks to those before me
That’s all I’ve got to say
Cause maybe you squandered big bucks in your lifetime
Now I have to pay
But then again it feels like some sort of inspiration
To let the next life off the hook
But she’ll say look what I had to overcome from my last life
I think Ill write a book

How long till my soul gets it right
Can any human being ever reach the highest light?
Except for Galileo God rest his soul
(Except for the resting soul of Galileo)
King of night vision, king of insight

How long
(till my soul gets it right)
[til we reach the highest light]
How long
(til my soul gets it right)
[‘til we reach the highest light]

Create-Your-Own Summer Internship

After all I’ve been through this quarter I decided that I would not do C.P.E. (Clinical Pastoral Education) this summer. C.P.E. is basically an chaplaincy internship. They can be done at a hospice, hospital, nursing home, community center, etc. I want to do hospice but not this time. I’m not ready. I need to heal and recover and I want a summer to do me. So I sat down with Pastor AJ and put together a plan. I’ve added a few things to the list since then:

  • Launch the Women’s Group
  • Launch the Resume/Job Posting Ministry
  • Community Partnerships – Angel’s Touch, BIAMA, City Council Meetings
  • Preaching – Once per month
  • Teach a Bible Study – Once per month
  • Pastoral Care – Office hours twice per week
  • Shadowing PAJ – Go with AJ to do ministry stuff and talk about what to and how to and when to, etc.
  • Update the church website and get the blog going.
  • Get people in place to do the administration stuff after while I am doing my field placement next year.

That ought to learn me and make the summer fly by. I’m nervous about preaching and teaching. I’m afraid I will not be good but I also know it will be okay.

Our Deepest Fear

The other day my mother called me and asked me to find that quote from Akeelah and the Bee. I immediately knew what she meant. Today I found the original quote (see below), the book it came from, and the author’s website. Another thing Mom wants me to do is frame the quote and bring it to her. I’ll do that and maybe one better. Maybe I’ll get her to the book too. I’ll have to take a look at it and decide. I’m so glad she called me and asked me to do this. Here’s the full quote:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles.

Part of the above quote is painted on the wall in Dr Larabee’s office in Akeelah and the Bee.

“What does it mean?.

“That I’m not supposed to be afraid.”

“Afraid of what?”

“Afraid of…me.”

Its amazing how often we hide our talents out of fear. Fear of failure, fear of ridicule, fear of success. When we hide our talents, we live beneath our purpose. The repercussions of hiding out are farther reaching than our own sad pile of “couldas” and “shouldas.” When we hide out, we not only hurt ourselves but we also deprive the world of the gifts that God placed in us. God gives us gifts and those gifts are meant to be shared because God given gifts change lives.

“Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.”

Each breakthrough, each triumph, each failure, each falling down and getting up is another step in the long journey of walking into our purpose. The best thing about it is that we don’t have to walk by ourselves. God is always there teaching and guiding (like Dr Larabee only better). And to make it fun, God sends us friends who share our interests and desires and who are willing to travel with us on the journey(Like Javier and Georgia).

So why not get started or start again? Say a prayer, listen for instructions and get to steppin’.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akeelah_and_the_Bee